UK Big Brother Invades More Privacy

April 18, 2017

The United Kingdom has been compared to George Orwell’s 1984 dystopia before, especially in the last two decades with their increasing amount of surveillance technology.  Once more UK citizens face privacy invasion reports the Guardian in “UK Public Faces Mass Invasion Of Privacy As Big Data And Surveillance Merge.”  The UK’s Surveillance Camera Commissioner Tony Porter expressed his worry that government regulators were unable to keep up with technological advances.

Big data combined with video surveillance, facial recognition technology, and the profuse use of more cameras is making it harder to protect individuals’ privacy.  People are being recorded 24/7 and often without their knowledge.  Another worry is that police are not being vigilant with private information.  One example is that license plate information has not been deleted after the two-year limit.

Porter wants changes to be made in policies and wants people to be aware of the dangers:

Porter’s new strategy, published on Tuesday, points out that an overwhelming majority of people currently support the use of CCTV in public places. But he questions whether this support can continue because of the way surveillance is changing.

 

‘I’m worried about overt surveillance becoming much more invasive because it is linked to everything else,’ Porter said. ‘You might have a video photograph of somebody shopping in Tesco. Now it is possible to link that person to their pre-movements, their mobile phone records, any sensor detectors within their house or locality. As smart cities move forward, these are challenges are so much greater for people like myself. And members of the public need to decide whether they are still happy with this.’

Porter admitted that advanced surveillance technology had allowed law enforcement to arrest terrorists and track down missing people, but it still can lead to worse privacy invasions.  Porter hopes is new three-year strategy will inform authorities about how technology will impact privacy.

The good thing about surveillance technology is how it can track down bad guys, but it can be harmful to innocent citizens.  The BBC should run some PSAs about video surveillance and privacy to keep their citizens informed.  I suggest they do not make them as scary as this one about electricity.

Whitney Grace, April 18, 2017

Cortana Becomes an MD

April 17, 2017

Smartphone assistants like Microsoft’s Cortana are only good for verbal Internet searches.  They can be made smarter with an infusion of machine learning and big data.  According to Neowin, Microsoft is adding NLP and AI to Cortana and sending it to medical school, “The UK’s Health Services Now Relies On Cortana Intelligence Suite To Read Medical Research.”

Microsoft takes a lot of flak for their technology, but they do offer comprehensive solutions that do amazing things…when they work.  The UK Health Services will love and hate their new Cortana Intelligence Suite.  It will be utilized to read and catalog medical research to alert medical professionals to new trends in medicine:

Researching and reading can consume medical professionals’ times, stealing a valuable resource from patients.

That’s why the UK’s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is now relying on Microsoft’s Cortana Intelligence Suite for sifting through medical data. NICE uses machine-learning algorithms to look at published medical research, categorize it, and feed it to volunteer citizen scientists which then re-categorizes and processes it. This leaves researchers time to go through the final data, interpret and understand it, without having to waste time on the way. It also forms a virtuous cycle, whereby the citizen scientists feed the computer algorithm data and improve it, and the computer algorithm feeds the volunteers better data, speeding up their work.

Medical professionals need to be aware of current trends and how medical research is progressing, but the shear amount of papers and information available is an impossible feat to control.  Cortana can smartly parry down the data and transform it into digestible, useful material.

Whitney Grace, April 17, 2017

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